You’ll Do Gay Marriage Or Else
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “We have Patrick Deneen on the Dude Maker Hotline with us, who is an essayist, professor, a world traveler, and a man of good faith who is trying to defend the faith. My vote is we start with white martyrdom. If there isn’t a divine event to stop it, then we ultimately proceed to red martyrdom, and then the Church kind of has to, is basically cut down to its smallest size and then has to start pretty much all over again, which has happened before, right?” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: . . . is Patrick Deneen. He wrote this essay back in June of this year called “The Power Elite.” I think I talked about it back in June on the old station, in the old country. We’ve talked to Patrick about many other topics here on this show. We invited him on today so we can talk a little bit about Advent. Patrick, first of all, welcome back to the program. How are you, my friend?
Patrick Deneen: Thanks, Mike. It’s great to be back. I just got back from down under, Australia, just the other day. It’s nice to be home, but it was also nice to have a little summer.
Mike: That’s right, the Southern Hemisphere is summer, isn’t it?
Deneen: That’s right.
Mike: How is the faith doing down under?
Deneen: I actually had a number of meetings with some key people down there, both in the Church and in the parliament. I’ll tell you, the situation there is very close to Europe as opposed to what we at least have somewhat enjoyed in the United States until fairly recent times, highly secular, definite concerns and worries about religious liberty issues down there. They’re facing many of the same issues we’re facing here. It seems to me it’s a highly secular culture down there now.
Mike: I don’t know if you’ve traveled to the United Kingdom lately, but I’ve made two trips in the last three years. If there’s any sign of reverence in Scotland, I couldn’t detect it.
Deneen: The worry, of course, right now is there seems to be a real convergence among what you call the post-industrialized West to this secular, highly globalized, deeply liberal set of presuppositions that we see converging, not only, of course, Europe, Australia, but also now the United States.
Mike: When I say that I was looking for signs of reverence, one of the things that just has to play on any orthodox Christian or any person that has any rising level of affinity for the Holy Church of Rome, when you go to a city like Edinburgh and stare up at these magnificent – the only I can describe them is just magnificent structures that were built in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries with spires that are – the roof of the spire is vaulted at a 10-degree angle. It’s 300 feet above the Miracle Mile street there. It’s a flea market today. There’s no service going on in there.
Deneen: One of the things that struck me, I went to a mass in Melbourne, Australia. It seemed that the beautiful cathedral there was really mostly a tourist attraction at this point.
Mike: We were promised that the gates of hell would not prevail. I’m just wondering, and many of my friends are, just how close to prevailing it’s going to get before they don’t prevail.
Deneen: We also heard from that same source that the world would hate us at it hated him. I think those prophecies are certainly coming true.
Mike: Are you feeling hated?
Deneen: In some circles certainly so.
Mike: You’re still a professor at Notre Dame, right?
Deneen: That’s correct, last I checked.
Mike: What are the conditions like at Notre Dame? I can remember back in 2009, in the spring of 2009, just being aghast and finally taking my Notre Dame hat and throwing it in the garbage can – I never would have conceived of doing this. I’ve been a Notre Dame fan since I was a little boy. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was partially raised Catholic. I just always like the Irish. When they invited Obama to be the commencement speaker at the 2009 graduating ceremony, I never recovered from that. I’m still angry.
Deneen: I think, obviously, that was a traumatic event, certainly for Notre Dame, and more broadly American Catholicism. The focus of that event, the deep, deep trauma of that invitation, I think, was a real bellwether, certainly for Notre Dame, and I think for American Catholicism. I would only say the following. I left Georgetown after 2009. I left Georgetown in 2012 to join the faculty at Notre Dame. I joined it knowing full well it was a place that was really contested about what kind of commitments it would have and how those would be manifest.
At the same time, I would just say that under the headlines, there are wonderful things happening at Notre Dame. There really is a very solid and very devout and deeply committed core of Catholic faculty. We have wonderful, deeply committed students. Notre Dame regularly garners about 700 students to go to the March for Life. The president of Notre Dame, he issued the invitation to President Obama to attend that March for Life. Officially it’s a pro-life school. I realize the Obama invitation doesn’t speak as well to that as I think the facts on the ground are. I would simply say you may want to, if you still have access to that garbage can, take it out and put it to the side, that Notre Dame hat. It’s not worth giving up on. It’s an institution that’s on the razor’s edge. I think it’s still worth fighting for.
Mike: Of course, we can always pray to the Saint Notre Dame de Chartres.
Deneen: Yes, Our Lady is certainly well appealed to on campus.
Mike: Patrick Deneen is our special guest here with us today. I keep making the mistake, because I so dearly love my dear old friend and kind of mentor, even though he doesn’t know that he is, Patrick J. Buchanan. I kept calling you Patrick J. Deneen this week. I realized: Wait a minute, there’s no J in his name!
Deneen: There is. I’m Patrick John. You were correct.
Mike: Really? I looked at some of the things you’d written and I didn’t see the J. I went: Oh, I guess I just inserted the J.
Deneen: No, it is, Patrick J. Deneen.
Mike: I was thinking of Patrick J. Buchanan.
Deneen: That’s all right, too.
Mike: Let’s talk a little bit, I wanted to read something to you because I was going to talk about this today and didn’t get a chance to. You might have seen this at One Peter Five. The Satanists are back. They now intend to hold a Christmas Eve ceremony to deface a statue of Our Lady under the title of the ceremony “The Virgin Birth is a Lie.” “The Satanist that held the black mass in Oklahoma City last year is at it again. Adam Daniels is planning this Christmas Eve to desecrate a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Entitle ‘Virgin Birth is a Lie’ this Satanist is planning on putting on a show outside of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral in Oklahoma City from 4:30 to 6:15 pm Christmas Eve.” There’s a gentleman that reached out to me on Facebook, David Homoney, who is asking any Catholic gentlemen who can make their way to Oklahoma City, they’re going to surround the statue and block the Satanists from gaining access to it. Have you heard about this? What is it with the resurgence, or the insurgence rather, of the Satanists?
Deneen: I haven’t heard about this, but certainly I’ve heard about the many examples of various atheistic and satanic observances, we could say. I think on the one hand we can focus on these as examples of a deeply corrupt culture, which I think we have a lot of evidence that that’s what we live in. On the other hand, at least you can take some hope and comfort in the fact that it’s recognized – it’s kind of a backhanded compliment by these self-declared Satanists that they recognize the power of Christianity, of the Virgin Mother, of the example of Christ. They implicitly recognize the power because they want to attack it. In a sense, the day when they cease to see it as anything worth attacking is the day we should really be worried. I admire the effort of these gentlemen. I hope they’re successful in blocking these efforts to desecrate. On the other hand, we should take some comfort in the fact that there’s still the extraordinary power of these sacred objects, and of the sacredness of the Christian faith that draws this kind of animosity.
Mike: Especially on Christmas Eve, the timing is obvious: Hey, let’s get out there and make a public display of this because many people don’t believe in this great fairy tale, that the virgin birth is actually possible. Of course, this defies the scientific model. If you can’t verify it through the scientific model, then, according to many people – this is one of the great heresies and problems that my children, your children, and our grandkids are going to deal with unless we can vanquish this. This is the heresy of modernity, which says if you can’t use the scientific method to prove something, then it doesn’t exist.
Deneen: Of course, yeah. We live in this age of sort of debased empiricism in which the purported example of science is trotted out, often to substantiate a view of human society that itself is sort of faith-based. It’s the belief in the kind of perfectibility, the elimination of any kind of injustice, accident of a situation, circumstantial caprice that somehow we can overcome all of the evils, the bad things of human life through sort of social engineering. If that’s not faith-based, I don’t know what is. We’re living in a time where the kind of specter of empiricism is used to justify what Thomas More rightly titled Utopia.
Mike: Of course, utopia is – I’m trying to remember which one of the saints – one of the saints actually wrote something about this, that utopia is heretical. The only utopia is to be found in the beatific vision. If there is a utopia, and there is, that’s where you’ll find it. Anyone that purports to say that there is one other than that obviously does not have his theology in the right – he doesn’t have his theologic virtues and his theologic thinking in the right order.
Deneen: That’s right. I think this is really the specter, one of the deepest specters of modernity, that often, I think, in liberal society goes under recognized. I think it was highly recognized when we were facing particularly the ideologies of fascism and communism, that these were ideologies that were directed at a kind of secularized version of the Christian beatific vision. The idea that we could create the kingdom of Heaven on Earth was something that liberal democracy fought against throughout the 20th century.
What’s gone unrecognized until more recent times is that in some ways this vision is embedded within liberalism itself as well. This ideological vision of the perfectibility of human beings is coming into view as a central vision as well as the ideology of liberalism. It was in many ways a kind of pyrrhic victory defeating communism to lead us to the point where now we’re living in a situation where, through a different means, there’s the effort, in some ways, to create this utopic society on Earth. The effort then is to eliminate anything that’s seen as an obstacle to that beatific vision. The greatest obstacle to that beatific vision, as it was in communism, as it was under fascism, is Christianity. It holds the view that that can’t be achieved in the human life. Human beings are fallible. We’re fallen. We can’t achieve utopic society. This is why I think we see an extraordinary hostility now devoted by our cultural elites, by our corporate elites, by our all kinds of masters that I talked about in this essay “The Power Elite,” to eliminate the last vestige of what they see as a backward vision that prevents the apotheosis of this beatific vision that now liberal society can bring into being.
Mike: There’s so much fertile ground to discuss there. Patrick Deneen is our special guest here with us today. He did write the essay “The Power Elite.” As you may have heard, Patrick, we are obviously not on the old station in the old country anymore.
Deneen: Yes, I have heard that. Congratulations on the move.
Mike: We are able to, without guilt or fear of reprobation – although we do have fear of lights being turned off if we can’t pay the bill. Without fear of reprobation, we do have the ability now, and I think also the charge now, to discuss these things. I was delighted that you accepted my invitation to come on here and talk about some of these things. We’ll get to “The Power Elite” in just a moment. Rod Dreher has been writing an awful lot about these issues here. He’s built quite a following up over there at The American Conservative magazine website. As a matter of fact, if you read that site, you’ll note, as I know, that of all the good writers they have there – Daniel Larison, Gracy Olmstead who is really a charming young writer, Noah Millman, Scott McConnell, and Buchanan writes over there, but I think he’s just flown in as a syndicated source.
One of the things I notice is that the traffic has quintupled if not tentupled on Dreher’s posts. Sometimes there are 300, 400, sometimes 1,000 comments. They’re very well trafficked. Obviously he’s been written about a lot with his exhortation that we might need to pursue this thing called the Benedict Option. One of the events that he covered in the last couple days here is this rising tide of, now it’s turned a little bit violent, the members of the culture of death who are either transgendered, queer, or whatever the other 13 initials are, homosexuals and homosexuals pursuing marriage are now pursing this agenda and point of view that says: You can have some religious freedom, but you can’t have that kind of religious freedom. It’s to the point, Patrick, where now out and open in the public, homosexuals Andrew Sullivan and David Boaz – Boaz was the president of the Cato Institute for years. Sullivan doesn’t need any introduction to anyone that’s followed online blogging. Sullivan goes to this convention and argues for religious liberty and is basically booed off the stage and is told don’t come back. What’s going on here with this?
Deneen: We’re really at an inflection point with the gay rights movement and its relationship, obviously, to religious liberty. An earlier generation, and I think largely driven by a classic liberal view of live and let live, I think that was in many ways Sullivan, certainly Boaz, was of the view that one could have a society in which you could have various definitions of married and still retain recognition of religious liberty. This recent event that Rod Dreher wrote about on his blog, which is rightly very well read, and should be well read – Rod is one of our most perceptive cultural commentators and extremely accessible and I think dynamic author.
One of the things he conveys in this piece is that a younger generation now of activists are throwing aside and indeed attacking this older generation who thought that one could have one’s cake and eat it too, in a sense. I think the younger generation in some ways is more accurate in their perception of where gay marriage was always going to head than the ones that actually brought it into being. I think in this sense, while Rod is very generous to Sullivan, and he longs that Sullivan were still writing, I actually think that he gives in some ways too much credence to Sullivan. Sullivan was in many ways, and not just him, but many were in the forefront of equating the gay marriage cause to the civil rights cause. In other words, suggesting that those who were defending what’s called the traditional or conjugal view of marriage, simply what I would call marriage, those who were defending marriage were in some ways the moral equivalents of Southern Bull Connor racists, of Jim Crow, defenders of Jim Crow.
Those chickens have come home to roost now. It’s the younger generation who’ve embraced that view of gay marriage, and, therefore, there can be no brooking any defense of what’s called traditional marriage because one can’t have anyone defending racism or the equivalent thereof. To simply claim somehow that we didn’t know this was going to happen, or we regret now that religion is coming under attack by this new generation of activists is to have a pretty blinkered or short-term view of where this was ultimately going to go.
Mike: I concur that sometimes Dreher is a bit too conciliatory to some of, not just to Sullivan and Boaz, but some of the more, of their non-gay or homosexual or whatever your terminology may be, counterparts that just happen to be writers and authors. From time to time he does get it right when he says error has no rights, but then you give error rights. You just say: Yeah, but that guy was doing error and he was okay. His heart was in the right place. It doesn’t really matter where your heart is. If you’re in error, especially if you’re in theologic error, if we have a truth and we can know it, and if we can know it and we can repeat it and promote it and live by it, then an error is just that. It’s got to be stopped before it produces more error. That’s always been the point of Christianity. We have code; it’s called a magisterium. This is the owner’s manual for the human soul. Right, Patrick Deneen? This is how you get the soul to the narrow gate, correct?
Deneen: Of course that’s right. We’re talking here about bloggers and journalists. Rod has a personal friendship with Andrew Sullivan that I respect and that needs some credence. On the other hand, I think there have been many people who have been writing – you’ve had some of these people on your show, Chris Ferrara and David Schindler and others, and myself, people like Alasdair MacIntyre, who have discerned in many ways the logic of liberalism, its kind of deep, underlying destruction of all forms, of all kind of cognizance or respect toward natural forms or a kind of bounded conception of human nature.
Perceiving that logic, it’s very obvious and very clear how gay marriage is really just a piece. It’s not simply a sole part of it. It’s a piece of an underlying logic that ultimately will act as a solvent on all kinds of human institutions, and indeed eternal institutions, sacred institutions. It acts as a solvent on the family. It acts as a solvent on community. It acts as a solvent on the nation-state. It acts as a solvent on all of these forms we could say that civilization relies upon for conveying culture, for raising its young, for passing along the things of value. Once you see that underlying logic, it’s simply untenable that you could simply hold the view that we can have a society that endorses gay marriage and yet somehow also respects religious liberty. I think it’s really very evident once you see that underlying logic that there was never going to be a sort of holding back of the torrent of attacks, I think ultimately what will be a deep, deep compromise and I think rolling back of religious liberty as the logic of this particular set of commitments.
Mike: What happens if you refuse to go along with the compromise and you remain: No, this is the truth. I know it. I’m not going to turn my back on it. I’m not going to say no because I don’t have to answer to you when I leave here; I have to answer to Almighty God, so the answer is no. I think, and my vote is – we have Patrick Deneen on the Dude Maker Hotline with us, who is an essayist, professor, a world traveler, and a man of good faith who is trying to defend the faith. My vote is we start with white martyrdom. If there isn’t a divine event to stop it, then we ultimately proceed to red martyrdom, and then the Church kind of has to, is basically cut down to its smallest size and then has to start pretty much all over again, which has happened before, right?
Deneen: Yeah, absolutely. This is going to be a very difficult time. I think there’s going to be a real, as it were, shaking out of those who are truly committed to the teachings of Christ and the Church, and those who really want to embrace the things of the world. The world is going to basically give us a choice. Will you hold true to the teachings that one finds in the Bible, that one finds articulated by our savior, or will you embrace and continue to embrace the things of the world and what the world will allow you? I think you’re right that this is a time of decision.
When you read Rod Dreher, there’s definitely a sense of loss, and I think there’s a good deal of truth to that. I think if we look more deeply at the course of modernity, that loss, in many ways, has already been inscribed into what we think of as maybe nostalgically of a better time, as a time when we were a Christian America. That loss was already inscribed in it because many of its features were already subtly present, the kind of deep materialism that was bounded up with the American imperium, a kind of militarism. A kind of what Augustine would have described as the libido dominandi, the desire for dominion, the lust for domination has been inscribed in this American story as well. We shouldn’t overstate what we’re losing, but we can see this as a time of real clarity and clarification of what it is to be a Christian. And what it is to be Christian may mean that we have to see our true home, as Augustine pointed us to our true home, is the City of God and is no city of man. That’s a hard lesson, I think, for American Christians. This is why I think Rod Dreher and his discussion of the Benedict Option is getting a lot of attention. I think for the first time in a very long time Christians in America are facing the idea that their true home may not be, in the deepest sense, may not be any particular nation. It’s ultimately the City of God.
Mike: How ironic is that when – I say this with a lot of trepidation, and I shouldn’t be laughing about it because there’s probably a lot of grief on the other side of this. I have a lot of trepidation when you say it’s not a home to any nation or any particular sovereignty. I’m just reminded that so many of our Protestant friends and our brothers and sisters that are Protestant and Evangelical, of that faith and of those denominations, hold that actually – one of the things that we must continue our current foreign policy, we must continue our footprint in the world as a sovereign nation, and we must continue our presence in the Middle East, and we must preserve the nation of Israel. I still haven’t found a way to, as gently as I possibly can, try and just nudge them. It’s not about the geographical state. You’re looking at geography. It’s not the geography of it.
There is an actual – of course, if you’ve read and are familiar with that magisterial teaching and the things that we’re talking about, then we, the church militant, are the new Israel. That’s the way – it’s difficult to explain that if not impossible, to the point where you know people will get very angry with you and call you lots of names. Just the idea that there is a geographic attachment to certain things, and when you said that about some Americans may be coming to the realization of that, I think that that’s profound, Patrick. I think the two are kind of related there. Other than the seat of Rome where the Holy See actually is, and where we know that there are some immovable – they can’t be moved by me and you. It would take a miracle to move them, so God can move them. You and I aren’t going to move them. Some immovable objects of the faith like the Holy Sepulchre and things like that, it really isn’t about geography, and it never has been.
It’s kind of another interesting sort of sidebar of that whole Israel question, many of the Protestants, the Calvinists, for example, fled England and fled to Denmark. Then they fled Denmark. They are fleeing geography to come to this geography to begin anew. Now we may find out they have to come full circle that this geography really isn’t the homeland that they may have always envisioned it to be. That’s a difficult one to sell, but I think one that we should at least softly begin trying to prepare people for and maybe begin thinking about. Maybe?
Deneen: Absolutely. We should recognize, of course, that the nation-state is itself, in many ways, one of the deepest results of the Protestant Reformation. It’s the practical consequence, certainly the political consequence, of the Protestant Reformation. If one has certain reservations about the Protestant Reformation, which I think as a Catholic one should have, one should have certain reservations about the model of the nation-state. I guess let me put in a plug for geography in the following sense. It’s striking to me that on the one hand, of course you’re right, that the Church points us away from any particular geographic sense of political, ultimate political loyalty. On the other hand, it seems to me that one of the real distinctions of Catholicism from our Protestant brethren is that there’s a deep sense of geography when it comes to something like the parish. In contrast, it seems to me, to most Protestant churches, that Catholicism, at least in terms of our particular membership, is deeply geographically based. Your parish is where you live. It’s bounded by a geographic location.
I think this is a valuable way for us to think about what it is to be a Catholic. It is, in one sense, to be part of a universal church, a true universal, not a false universal, not the globalized cosmopolitan universalism that our liberal elites suggest is the only true universal. We’re members of a true universal, which is the eternal city of God. We’re also members of something very particular, something that’s geographically bounded, that really is focused on the community. It’s the way in which the universal is manifest in very particular forms. It’s not just kind of baseless or groundless or placeless universal. It’s deeply committed to a set of people with a p articular history, with a particular set of saints that you’re devoted to, a particular set of neighbors, and with a real call to care for people who are close to you. I would want to be wary of simply saying our choice is either to be globalist, some kind of universalist, or some kind of nationalist. It seems to me that Catholicism offers a way for us to have very particular kinds of memberships in a locality that nevertheless partakes in the true universal of the Church itself.
Mike: Our conversation with Patrick Deneen, a professor at the University of Notre Dame and an essayist and world traveler here. You sound like an apologist.
Deneen: What am I apologizing for?
Mike: Your apologetics are good. I’m enjoying your apologetics, I guess I should say. That doesn’t make you an apologist. I probably used the wrong terminology. Your apologetics are enjoyable for me to listen to anyways, I’m sure for others as well.
Deneen: All I’m doing right now, particularly talking about the relationship of universal in particular, is channeling some G.K. Chesterton, who was perhaps one of the greatest apologetics ever to have written. He’s very much worth your audience reading.
Mike: I was reading Chesterton this morning. As a matter of fact, I was reading Heretics. There’s a chapter in heretics about Christmas, actually, “Christmas and the Aesthetes.” I wanted to say Chesterton had to have written about Christmas. Of course, in true Chesterton style, he starts off with a conversation that you don’t think he’s going to. He’s writing about the Salvation Army. I’m going: Where’s he going with the Salvation Army? Of course, by the time I got to the end, I realized I’d been Chestertoned. I very much enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to spruce it up a bit and publish it on the site at MikeChurch.com with some commentary.
Deneen: This time of year also it’s very much worth reading his book Orthodoxy, which, among other things, has a wonderful chapter called “The Ethics of Elfland.” It’s really about the marvelous epic storytelling nature of Christianity, that its epic and elfish story-ness is what in some ways makes it the most true.
Mike: A final question here, or a final subject of discussion, is the power elite. When you wrote this back in June, we had all just borne witness to the State of Indiana had put forward the RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They actually had it on the books, right?
Deneen: Yeah, it actually had passed and had been signed into law.
Mike: Then Mystic Pizza happened and some homosexuals were denied pizza at a wedding. Some others were allegedly denied this. Then Apple Computer and Wal-Mart and Angie’s List and all these other corporate entities decided to rain down their fury of financial consequences that must be paid for contravening the gay marriage initiative. Ultimately the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, and the legislature, totally capitulated, withdrew the entirety of the RFRA, and basically said they had been hoodwinked and they were the victims of political correctness and this, that, and the other. As you wrote, they weren’t really the victims so much as they were the participants.
Deneen: You’re remembering the movie Mystic Pizza. It was actually a small pizzeria not far from where I live in Walkerton, Indiana called Memories Pizza. For those of your listeners who don’t remember what happened, there was actually a reporter from South Bend, Indiana who went down to this small pizzeria in a strip mall, very modest circumstances, and asked the owner a theoretical question. If a homosexual couple asked them to cater a wedding – as if a homosexual couple would come into Memories Pizza to ask them to cater their gay wedding – if someone were to do so, would they cater it? The owner, one of the owners of Memories Pizza said: We wouldn’t deny service to anyone, but we would not want to cater a gay wedding; it would be against our religious principles.
The fury of the enlightened elite that was rained down upon this pizzeria was unlike just about anything anyone had ever seen. It was as if they had come out and declared that they were going to start revisiting the injustices of the South in the 1930s or something. It was absolutely unbelievable a response to a theoretical question. It was a very clarifying moment because what it really indicated was that all of the lip service that we’ve seen over many years, many decades, of the deep concern of what Rod Dreher calls the social justice warriors, for the dispossessed, for the poor, for those who’ve been left behind goes out the window when an issue that’s near and dear to the heart of our cultural elite today, which is that there must be, not simply that we must have gay marriage legalized, but that everyone must accept it and embrace it as a norm. If anyone resists is, even impoverished people living in the Rust Belt of America, they must be crushed.
The glee and the total commitment to putting this struggling business out of work, to shutter it up was absolutely incredible. By my view, as someone who comes from a background of basically working-class family, Irish Catholic, I thought it was a despicable example of where today’s supposed social justice liberal elite has gone.
Mike: Here’s a summary that Patrick wrote back in June of this year, which I think just sums up what he just said and puts it into terms that should be very clear. I’ve been saying to this audience every day here on Veritas Radio Network Crusade Channel, and I was saying it to the audience on the old station in the old country, something very similar to this. If you think that you’re going to escape this and you’re going to remain true to the one true faith and you’re going to remain devout, you’re wrong. You’re not going to escape it. Get ready to be part of the real church militant because the militancy is coming your way. They will find us. They will hunt us down and they will subject us to hypotheticals as they did the pizza place. If that’s what it takes to find who you are and identify you as someone who is not allowed to participate in their little economic America because you disagree with them.
That ultimately, the horrific danger of this is – you would probably know something about this as I know a little bit about it thanks to the study of philosophia perennis or Thomistic or scholastic philosophy – this is going to lead to goose stepping. This leads to high goose stepping because this kind of, I guess I’ll call it stoicism for the moment here, this kind of a stoic devotion to something that has no demonstrable edict or commandment that comes down to us theologically, it comes down to us in the exact opposite. It comes to us anthropologically, meaning man made it up. This is the entire kit and caboodle, communism, fascism, Nazism. It is the rule and reign of man. If you think – I keep telling people this. If you think that devotion to the First Amendment, to James Madison or Charlie Hebdo or the porn valley that is San Fernando Valley, if you think that’s going to be a guard, that you can seek shelter behind that and rally the troops to it, that you can either defend yourself or try and organize an offense against it, I don’t know what world you’re living in. It’s going to take something to oppose this something, and that something that I just mentioned isn’t it. You summed this up differently, but I think we’re on the same page.
Americans of both parties once believed that no center of power in America should become so concentrated that it could force its views on every other citizen. What we saw in Indiana was not just a “miscalculation” by Republicans. We saw fully unmasked just who runs America, and the kind of America that they are bringing more fully into reality every passing day. It will be an America where the powerful will govern completely over the powerless, where the rich dictate terms to the poor, where the strong are unleashed from the old restraints of culture and place, where libertarian indifference—whether in respect to economic inequality or morals—is inscribed into the national fabric, and where the unburdened, hedonic human will reign ascendant. No limits reflected in political, social, or religious norms can be permitted: All are allowed except those who would claim the legitimacy of restraint.
Mike: That’s very Chestertonian of you, by the by. I think G.K. would approve.
Deneen: Well, you know, I steal from the best.
Mike: Summarize what I just said – maybe I committed an error or two and I’m wrong – and what you just said for the listening audience, and then we’ll call it a day.
Deneen: That’s the conclusion of the piece. I think the recent event in Indiana, it was a real moment, a window into the trajectory of where we’re seeing this kind of liberal elite that now runs this country, whether it’s Republican, whether it’s Democrat, however you describe it, corporate, civic, in all its forms, where it’s leading us. It really is leading us to a conclusion where the human will is ascendant. The only real opposition that has to be eliminated are those who would regard the human will as requiring a kind of governance, both a form of self-governance, and as I think I heard you rightly point out when you opened up the segment, republicanism, self-governance, self-rule under law that is not merely the result of the human will, but recognizes a higher law. It’s very clear, I think, coming out of that moment, what we’re facing, where we are.
One of the real clarifying moments is that what we’re seeing is that what we thought of once as a limited state, as the idea or ideal of a limited state is really notional at this point. Really the State has become an agent in forcing people to be free. The State will be used as an agent to require people to embrace the idea of the unfettered human will as the sole form in which freedom is recognized, in contrast to what Aquinas describes as freedom, freedom for excellence, freedom for something, freedom for virtue and goodness. It will be shunted aside in the name of freedom as the unfettered human will. That’s really the direction now of a limitless state that is now oriented toward destroying all forms and all practices and all traditions and all institutions that would stand as an obstacle to that form of freedom and to the realization of that form of freedom.
Mike: As Dreher says often, if you think you’re going to escape this, or if you think that the law of merited impossibility will never happen and when it does it won’t happen to us, it actually is happening and it’s going to happen to us. If we don’t prepare ourselves – what is truth? Conformity of the mind to reality. If you don’t conform your mind to the reality of what is actually going on here, and remove yourself from the two-party system that thinks all I’ve got to do is go vote for the right Republicans or “conservatives” and they’re going to fix all this, folks, we are in a theologic struggle. There’s no doubt in my mind that what we are struggling for right now is really – how ironic, the most popular movie of the day today is going to be the Star Wars movie. You’ve got the good guys in white, the bad guys in black. Nobody actually says Lucas’s vision of pantheism, and that’s exactly what it is, but he does have the players correct. There are good guys. There is a right way and a wrong way. Of course, he doesn’t get the rest of it right. How ironic that the struggle will actually draw the most amount of moviegoers without people realizing that they’re actually part of the same struggle.
Deneen: Again, let me just conclude where I began. You asked me about the Satan worshipers and the assault on the Virgin Mary. The appeal of Star Wars, the appeal of Harry Potter, the appeal of what we might see as in many ways somewhat degraded forms of the great story, nevertheless, I think they are basically classic stories of good vs. evil. For a very long time, good is assailed and good seems to lose. That good always seems to be back on its heels. Evil always seems to be ascendant. We’re drawn to these stories because of I think the deepest truth of these stories. This is true of Lord of the Rings. It’s true of C.S. Lewis. It’s true of G.K. Chesterton’s great stories. Good wins out. Good wins out not necessarily because it’s strongest in the conventional sense that we understand strong. It’s not the most powerful. It doesn’t have the most muscles. It doesn’t have the biggest weapons. It’s strong because it has the truth.
I think there’s a temptation in our current society toward a kind of despair or pessimism or hopelessness. Coming back to where we began, we were promised the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. I think as Christians we’re required, it’s part of our faith to be hopeful and to believe in the truth, and to recognize that in the end the truth will set us free in the truest sense of freedom. I guess I just want to, first of all, to wish you a Merry Christmas and your listeners a Merry Christmas, but also remember that we’re celebrating the incarnation of Christ. That should always give us hope and joy.
Have you tried the all new Veritas Radio Network yet? You can listen to the Mike Church Show LIVE weekdays 8-11 CST. The show is easier to access than ever before. But Veritas Radio isn’t JUST Mike Church, try the exclusive shows by Brother Andre: ReConquest, David Simpson’s True Money, The Mark Kreslins Show, My Story of America with Michael T George, Reverse Deception with Gregory Carpenter and The Constitution Hour with Kevin Gutzman. Help us continue our search for TRUTH by signing up for a Founders Pass Membership today!
Mike: Joseph Pearce said something very similar last time I was afforded the opportunity, the blessing to interview him. A very similar question. He said: Mike, you’re a member, I’m a member of the church militant. There’s a reason why it’s called militant; it’s because it has to be militant against this. We were told it would be required of us to have a militancy against the evil. But then I have another friend, my buddy Steve Cunningham, who I think is probably the world’s greatest living layperson apologetic. He told me: Mike, you’ve just got to learn to enjoy the suck. You can’t let them steal your joy. I have another friend of mine, Lenny Jorns, who is a musician in Memphis. He has a song “Here’s to me kicking your [you-know-what].” He says: Along comes this jerk who’s coming to steal my joy. I actually interviewed Lenny one time and he said: Well, Mike, there are evil people out there that are always trying to steal our joy. We can’t let them steal our joy.
We have the joy of Advent we’re in the middle of. We’re preparing the way for Christmas. Enjoy the suck. Enjoy being part of the Church militant. I like how the priest for the FSSP says it, and perhaps you may have heard him: God’s in charge. He knows what he’s doing. You don’t. Just smile and pray your way through it, brother. Know that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. Merry Christmas and Happy Advent to you, too, my brother.
Deneen: Thank you. You, too, and to all of your listeners.
Mike: What a fantastic little 40 minutes you and I got to spend. We’re going to make this freely available to anyone you’d like to send this out to. We’ll make this an entire preview. I want other people to hear it; they should hear it. Hopefully you and I will continue these conversations. Godspeed, my brother.
End Mike Church Show Transcript